The AVMA Combats Cyberbullying In The Veterinary Industry (US)

In this week’s VetCrunch news roundup, we discuss cyberbullying in veterinary workplaces, toolkits to improve mental health, and pet ownership in Australia, whilst celebrating the new WSAVA president.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has recently launched a digital reputation management toolkit, aimed at veterinary teams to help combat cyberbullying. The toolkit was created after a recent AVMA survey revealed that 40% of their members said that either they or someone they work with had been a victim of cyberbullying. The survey also found that cyberbullying had risen by 20% since 2014, for veterinary professions, with members reporting an impact on their mental health and workplace tension. 

Angela Roberts, AVMA’s chief marketing and communications officer said “In extreme cases, veterinarians are being yelled at, threatened, sued. They’ve had clients post negative comments on social media, review bombing their practices, and calling local media stations. From there, things go viral, and strangers pile on. At that point, practices can’t function and don’t know what to do.”

The toolkit is there to provide guidance on prevention and combating cyberbullying for veterinary teams. It also offers advice on responding and recovering from a cyberbullying incident and helps support the physical and mental well-being of staff. 

The online toolkit was developed with an educational grant from Banfield Pet Hospital. “We are very grateful to Banfield Pet Hospital for their collaboration on the new toolkit. Most veterinarians are not experts in social media and crisis communications, so in the event they experience online harassment, they need to have user-friendly tools at the ready. While every incident is different, this template gives veterinary teams a structure and road map for effective response and recovery.” said Dr. Lori Teller, AVMA president.

Why Should You Care?

With cyberbullying on the rise in the veterinary profession, it’s important to have the skills/tools necessary to overcome backlash of them. 

Although these statistics are quite harrowing and depict another rising pressure on the veterinary community, it is reassuring to know that it is being recognized and work is being done to combat this issue. 

To read the full article, click here.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) has recently developed a wide range of new mental health and wellbeing training opportunities for the veterinary community for 2023. 

The 14 well-being training sessions offered will take place both online and in person from January-April 2023. 

Lisa Quigley, Mind Matters Initiative Manager, said: “Last year was a busy year for MMI and saw the successful launch of our brand new training programme. Ensuring that our new training offering was comprehensive and matched the needs of the professions was a top priority for 2022 and will continue to be so for 2023.

“Mental health and wellbeing are impacted by a whole host of structural and societal factors and maintaining a healthy workforce goes far beyond supporting people on an individual level. Whilst it is undoubtedly important to provide people with the skills they need to look after themselves, we are aiming to expand on this by providing individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to recognise and address wider collective issues. For example, the importance of creating and maintaining a positive workplace culture.

“We hope those attending our sessions find them useful and we will, of course, continue to take on feedback to ensure our training remains as relevant and impactful as possible.”

Why Should You Care?

As we are all very aware, the physical and mental demands of the veterinary industry have a massive impact on many professionals’ mental health, so having organizations recognize this and creating resources accordingly is a positive step forward. 

Of course, at VetX we’ve known the importance of this and have been developing content and courses to address this at the leadership and clinician level for years. Our signature Thrive and Leaders courses address both groups and their unique issues.

Click here to read the full article.

Dr. Ellen van Nierop, a small animal clinician originally from the Netherlands, has been elected WSAVA president. 

Dr. Van Nierop, who runs a small animal clinic with her husband in Quito, Ecuador, was elected during the WSAVA World Congress which took place in Peru. At the congress, Dr. Jim Berry, a veterinarian from Canada was elected vice-president, whilst Dr. Oscar Umaña (from Costa Rica) was elected honorary treasurer, and Dr. Jerzy Gawor, (a veterinarian from Poland) veterinarian, was elected as a board member. 

“It was wonderful to see the WSAVA’s global community reunited in Lima for the first time in three years and we extend our thanks to Dr José Salazar and other members of our Local Host Committee from AMVEPPA for their huge contribution to WSAVA 2022” 

“As a practising clinician, I find WSAVA’s educational resources invaluable and, as a member of the executive board, I have seen firsthand the hugely positive influence the association is having in terms of raising standards of companion animal veterinary care around the world.

“I am honoured to serve the veterinary profession as WSAVA president and will ensure that we continue to strengthen and grow our global veterinary community in order build a better future for both our current members and those still to come.” said Dr van Nierop.

Why Should You Care?

Veterinary medicine doesn’t exist in a localized national bubble and if one thing became really clear during the Co=vid pandemic, it’s that global cooperation and One Health thinking are hugely important. WSAVA connects more than 200,000 veterinary professionals across more than 100 vet associations globally and provides a voice on a global platform to advocate for issues that relate to animal welfare. They work to produce standards of care, and continuing education and allows information to flow between national association around the world.
Co-operation is alive and well in vet med it seems. Congrats to the new Pres!

Click here to read the full article.

‘Pets in Australia’, Australia’s most comprehensive pet population survey created by Animal Medicines Australia (AMA), has revealed pet ownership has leveled out after a huge boom during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study found around 69% of households (roughly 6.9 million homes), have at least one pet or more. Many of these pet owners reported getting their pet for companionship, relaxation, mental health, or due to rescuing the animal. 

Dogs and cats have accounted for the majority of pet ownership in households, with almost half of the households owning a dog, and a third owning a cat. 

However, with the rise in pet ownership, there has also been a rise in pets surrendered to shelters due to housing constraints and costs. 

The AMA CEO, Ben Stapley, said:

We need to encourage informed and thoughtful decision-making by governments, policymakers and others when considering issues that impact Australia’s estimated 28.7 million pets in 6.9 million households.”

Why Should You Care?

Although fairly unsurprising, considering the upward surge in pet ownership during the pandemic, knowing this information can help the Australian government understand the rise in demand for veterinary care, which could lead to more grants or resources available. 

It may also bring a forewarning of a tough time on the front lines of shelter medicine as spiraling cost of living prices rise and families consider surrendering their lockdown pet.


To find out more, click here.

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